Long running question between me and my girlfriend. Why, in nature’s infinite wisdom, did she create men and women in such a dissimilar sexual fashion. To wit: Men, wake up hard and ready to go. Women, takes time and energy that men don’t (often) want to take to get them to be ready to ‘do it’. If men had their way, women would be ready to go as fast as men are. And I assume women would like it to be the other way around. The bottom line is if nature wanted humans to proliferate, why didn’t she give them the same speeds? And don’t give none of that crap about women needing to secure a mate before sex or reproducing (See Cecil’s posting on Hymen). If they got ready for sex as fast as men, they’d still be able to land a man. Or men. Thoughts?
Nature is utterly indifferent, on this and every question.
If nature created women to be on the same speed as men, we’d never get anything accomplished BUT procreation.
Besides I like it just the way it is. Mating rituals fascinate me. Like the funnel web spider of Australia. The male approaches cautiously and strokes her legs, hoping that she’ll accept him as a mate vs. eating him for dinner. And he’ll take the risk…all for the chance to score ONCE.* That must be a darn powerful urge, don’t you think? An urge I am glad I don’t have.
*And 9 out of 10 times she eats him afterward to nourish her eggs. Gawd, isn’t nature grand?
My girlfriend says the same thing. If women were as quick to the idea as men, not much else would ever get done. My witty rebutal? What’s wrong with that? For some reason the conversation stalls there…
Well, it seems to work. There are a lot of people around. They seem to have proliferated just fine.
The converse of this idea is that if men were as slow to the idea as women the species would die out in a few generations.
Come on women - do your part for the good of the species.
I doubt Nature has our best interest at heart: notice how the easiest women to have sex with are in the worst possible position, emotionally and financially, to assume motherhood.
Yes, women are slower than men to get going, but nature has provided the answer for this: BEER!!
Thank you nature!
Seriously, that’s probably about the best answer you’re likely to get. The pop sociobiological explanation is going to be along the lines that men basically want to run and around and “sow their seed” in as many places as possible; to them, sex is pretty much of a “fire and forget” proposition, so natural selection would tend to put a premium on being able to fire quickly, as it were. Women, so the story goes, face being saddled with a baby; hence, they prefer to “secure a mate before sex or reproducing”–making the guy spend a lot of time and effort wooing them and so on demonstrates commitment on his part. Of course, the lying hound may demonstrate lots of commitment until he gets what he wants; then it’s “Sure, I’ll call you later, baby”. In the sociobiological view of things, relations between the sexes are rather like an arms race.
All of this can doubtless be critiqued on any number of grounds, and even from a sociobiological point of view that’s a great oversimplification of things. But I’m not sure you’re going to get any more coherent answers than that.
Cecil’s column on the “purpose” of the hymen can be found here, BTW.
I see two answers to this question:
(i) The “different speeds” is an aspect of the culturally defined gender roles. They may not benefit the individual’s net reproductive success but may be functional on a group level or may not be functional at all.
(ii) In general, we can not say if something is optimal, it should occur. Rather biologically speaking, evolved traits are either neutral variation or advantages. Traits which are advantageous, however, do not necessarily evolve.
And since this is great debates, let me just say sociobiologists are not scientists.